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Buffs Can't Overcome Stagnant Second Half, Lose 75-63

Feb 8, 2014

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Colorado Buffaloes cut a 10-point second-half Oregon State lead to three on two occasions but couldn’t complete their comeback, losing 75-63 here Saturday afternoon at Gill Coliseum.

The Buffs (13-9 overall, 3-8 Pac-12) stayed with the Beavers for most of the first half but couldn’t keep up with the home team to start the final 20 minutes. OSU (14-9, 6-5) outscored CU 10-5 to open the second half and the Buffs never caught up when their offense went stagnant in the final 6 minutes.

Nonetheless, CU coach Linda Lappe said her team could have salvaged the afternoon had its defense stayed as solid as it was for most of the opening half. The Beavers hit 60 percent from the field (15-of-25) in the second half.

“We were on pace to hold them under 60 points, which would have won us the game,” Lappe said. “I’m not impressed with our defense right now. It’s what we should be all about . . . we have to be more defensive minded so we can grind out games and win.”

Saturday’s game was originally scheduled to played Friday night, but it was pushed back a day because of a winter storm in the area. Then Saturday’s tip time also was pushed back an hour.

With the exception of trips to the free throw line and free throws made, the statistics showed an even contest. Both teams made 25 field goals, collected 38 rebounds and hit four 3-pointers. But OSU made 21-of-28 free throws – including 14-of-16 in the first half – while CU went 9-for-16 from the foul line.

Four Beavers players reached double figures in scoring, topped by freshman point guard Sydney Wiese’s 20. Forward Deven Hunter added 18 points and nine rebounds, while guard Ali Gibson added 12 points and center Ruth Hamblin 11 points.

“Give Deven Hunter a lot of credit; she was a monster in there,” Lappe said.

And the 6-6 Hamblin also made life inside the lane treacherous for CU, blocking four shots and forcing the Buffs to alter several other attempts.

Lappe said her team “went around Hamblin in first half, but we tried to go through her in the second (and) you’re not going to do it . . . she’s so big. I didn’t like a lot of our shots in the second half – they were by the wrong people and they were the wrong shots. We have to do a better job of executing our offense.”

The Buffs, who have lost seven of their past nine games, had three players in double figures, led by Arielle Roberson (12), Jen Reese and Brittany Wilson contributed 10 each, but OSU held Reese scoreless in the second half.

The Beavers hit five of six free throws in the first half’s final 48.3 seconds to take a 36-13 lead at the break. Wiese, who led all first-half scorers with 12 points, hit three of her four foul shots to give OSU its five-point advantage – the largest for either team in the first 20 minutes.

The Buffs were competent at the foul line, but they simply didn’t get there enough in the first half. And when they reached the stripe in the second half, they had trouble converting. Roberson hit only one of her seven free throw attempts.

Reese led CU with 10 first-half points, going four of five from the field. But she missed all six of her second-half field goal attempts.

The score was tied four times in the first half – the last at 31-31 – with 13 lead changes. CU’s last lead was 29-28 on Reese’s pair of free throws.

Oregon State, which had been averaging 80-plus points a game at home and 73.1 overall (fourth in the Pac-12), opened the second half with a 10-5 run and took its largest lead – 46-36 – only 4 minutes into the final 20.

CU kept chiseling away at OSU’s lead, and when Ashley Wilson hit a 3-pointer from the left wing near the 11-minute mark the Buffs were only back by three points – 55-52. A Lexy Kresl layup kept CU’s deficit at three – 57-54 – with 6:50 to play but the Buffs could come no closer.

A quick 5-0 run courtesy of a layup by Hunter and a Gabriella Hanson triple pushed the Beavers’ lead to 62-54. But empty possession after empty possession awaited the Buffs; they didn’t get their next basket until Ashley Wilson hit a jumper in the lane with 2:20 remaining – a span of 4:27 without a field goal. During that span, the Buffs went 3-of-15 from the field.

In the meantime, with CU also having problems getting stops, OSU built its biggest lead – 11 points twice – until Hanson hit one of two free throws in the final 10 seconds to put the Beavers up by their final 12-point margin.

“You always give your opponent credit,” Lappe said. “They made more plays and just drove it at us.”

Because of the winter storm in the Pacific Northwest, CU’s scheduled Sunday game at Oregon has been pushed back to Monday (6 p.m.).